Friday, February 26, 2010

Etsyblogger's Blog Carnival Feb 2010

This post is for February's Blog Carnival.

The question I'm answering is : What's the best vacation I've ever had?

I've travelled only 7 times in my whole life and the best vacation has to be to Korea in November 2008.
The main reason being I didn't get sick, not even once thru'out the trip.

I'm one of those people who do not travel well. I get horrible motion sickness, height sickness, home sickness, migraine and I spend the first 4 to 5 days puking or unconscious. It's really awful to travel with me.

Before the trip, a sales promoter recommended ginger tablets. I bought 1 box and I did not regret it. It turned out to be the best vacation I've ever had. I did not puke, get migraine, etc. Before this vacation, I'd never experienced cold weather.

I was so daring. I have height phobia!
It was freaking cold! Minus 9 deg Celcius I think. We were so unprepared because the weather forecast given to us was 18 deg Celcius.
This bear understood Korean. I was so entertained.
This was BEFORE we were released into the river. No happy faces afterwards. It was freaking cold.
I'm the 2nd person in the pic. I'm glad my sister, Erica had lent me her fleeced jacket. I realise that I look like an old lady when I put on bulky clothes and in cold weather, my face is incapable of smiling.
After days of eating Korean food, we were glad to get some real food.
Couldn't believe it but it got even colder. The sun is deceiving. The wind was bitter cold.  I wore 2 pairs of socks and layers and layers of other stuff. My family is really inexperienced in dressing for cold weather.
On our way to a public bath. We were in for a shock.
I found it hard to walk on the fake snow so I squatted. Here you can lie on a tyre down an icy slope for kicks. I did it once.
Dressing up as a Korean princess is mandatory.

Best vacation ever.

February's Featured EtsyBlogger - TiLTCreations

TiLT is February's featured EtsyBlogger. Let's see...

She has 2 shops. The first one, she sells bags. Here

In her other shop, Tiltoo, she stocks it with destash patterns, fabric and supplies from her handbag shop: Here. What a great way to get rid of your stuff!
The patterns are really cheap and a good deal if you live in the US.

She has 2 blogs!! This woman has a lot of energy.
The first blog is about crafts, kids, home and life. The second one is about the stuff she creates.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is This Day Good Or What?

Remember my  One World One Heart Giveaway? Seemed like a lifetime ago! I finally stopped procastinating and completed the passport cover prize for Jennifer, the winner. I must say I'm very happy with the result.
Here's a sneak peek at the finished product. It's ready to ship together with the mystery prize. More pics after Jennifer has received them.

Late last year, I told you guys about the first $50 I earned from Nuffnang for ads placed on this blog? Guess what? The cheque arrived today. I was so happy.
The envelope. I wonder what could be inside?

One dollar was deducted for handling fees. This cheque will go into my Retirement Fund.

Since 2010, the nuffnang ads campaigns placed on my blog have fizzled. I've had a total of 2 ad campaigns. So it's going to be a while longer before I have another cash-out. Nuffnang does not allow me to ask you, my dear readers to click on my ads. It's totally against the rules. So I'm not going to ask you to Click On My Ads.

Still on a money note,  Singapore Pools organises a $10million toto draw once a year after Chinese New Year. A fool and his money......Although my husband has predicted we will not win, I'm joining millions of folks here handing over our hard-earned money to the government for a chance to be too rich. The draw is this Friday. If I win the top prize, I will stop blogging. I'll be too busy spending it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scraps From The Ice Cream Tote

I was telling you guys about the scraps from The Ice Cream Tote in my last post? It went into.....
The Most Colorful Coasters In The World!

There was enough to make 4. I sewed strips together without any formula. You know I prefer it random, right?
 The middle has a soft batting. For the back, I used the same "friendly blue" fabric as the Ice Cream Tote. I quilted all 3 layers together.
 Bottoms up!

These are my first coasters! Why did I pick coasters? Well, it's a complicated story.

First of all, I don't know anyone in Singapore who are into sewing. Sure, there are a few craft sellers I know who sew but they aren't into sewing the way I am. You know, obsessed. So it's kinda lonely? Yes, I'm aware I have blog friends who sew and share my interest. But they are Internet People. That's equivalent to me putting on Na'vi body and sewing and chatting on Pandora! Don't get me wrong. Um..hear me out before you click the "unfollow" button.  I enjoy our interaction and all. I do. I do. But I got to wake up and eat/shower/etc now and then and get some human contact. So I thought why not convert my current friends into sewers?

This brilliant plan would have worked beautifully except too many of my friends would go glassy eyed whenever I mention sewing. This is especially true for the guys. Also, I don't have that many human friends. Oh, why am I so shy/picky/aloof!

To my delight, my dear friend Sweetie-Pie mentioned to me late last year that she was developing an interest in sewing and her first sewing project would be coasters. I almost passed out from euphoria. A lot of big words today.

Guess what? A lot of big talk. Despite my contribution of scraps and a little pressure now and then, I've yet to see any sign of a coaster.

So I had to pull out the big guns. I really made these coasters to "persuade" Sweetie-Pie into making her coasters.  My rationale is she'll look at my coasters and go "Wow!" and go run off and make her darn coasters. Is this plan working or what? I hope it works because she's the only viable friend who can sew.
Anyhoo, my husband says no one would buy these coasters at MAAD seeing as I'm the Bag Person. So I guess I won't sell them at Red Dot Design. He's usually right about such things.
Instead I'm selling them at Zibbet. Zibbet is new. It's my new online shop. So if anyone wants a set of 4 coasters.....

Lastly, if you are looking to become a seller on Zibbet, please use my referral link here. So help a girl out.....This is how it benefits me. For every successful premium seller I refer, I get $1 off my subscription fees. 7 referrals and it's free forever for me. What do you get from me? Other than my undying gratitude, nothing. Just kidding. I'll "favorite" your shop's ass off and I'll feature you on my blog if it means anything to you.

Zibbeter out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Ice-cream Tote

My friend Mandy wrote me to update my blog as she had run out of reading material and had to go read my husband's stuff. So I decided to get off my ass and post something. That girl, ah.

Mandy btw is currently SEOW (read szz-yeow as in door slam shut on your finger, meaning: nuts) over all things French. Go check out Mesmerize Studio to find out more about her obsession.

Meanwhile a bunch of fabric had been keeping me occupied the last week.
I had been hoarding these multi-colored fabric rectangles for a year. Somehow as months went by, I became more afraid to use the fabric as expectations rose.
I sewed the rectangles in twos and still I could not visualise anything. Finally I decided to use ALL the fabric to make one bag. The main reason I had so much problem making anything was I wanted to use the fabric on more than one bag. Problem solved. Wrong.

I wanted the quilted look. So I quilted random lines on each fabric rectangle. Sounds like the story of my life. I just jump in with my eyes shut. This is not a small bag. There's a lot of space to quilt on. A lot. After an hour, I seriously wanted to abandon the project. But I kept on. Can you just picture me, at the sewing machine, sewing line after line after line?
Mercifully, it all came to an end. I will never quilt again. I'm kidding. You know me. I always say "Never" and then I get interested again. Never learn!
I used a friendly blue for the lining and just look at the surprise stripes in the peek-a-boo zip pocket! The handle was a headache. I managed to find a ruby red fabric to carry it.

I wanted to call this bag The Forgot To Edit Bag. But I didn't. My husband says the colors are colors of spring. I like it! But since I can't really see seasons in colors, I decided to be true to my nature and call it as I see it. I see!

I will be selling this bag next weekend during March MAAD at the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore. Time really flies! I really hope someone buys my Ice-cream Bag because it's so yummy. Also, I'm sick of looking at it. Just kidding. Go here if you want to see more of it.

For my next post, I will show you what I did with the scraps.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Winner Of My One World One Heart Giveaway Is...

When I participated in this year's One World One Heart (OWOH) Giveaway, I expected at most 50 entries. I was being realistic because I'm not exactly on most folks' "must read" list. A total of 144 people entered! Only 140 were valid entries as I had to remove duplicates and late entries.

Lisa Swifka who created this monster event had a harder time. A total of 1105 blogs participated!

For my OWOH giveaway, I excluded non-bloggers as OWOH is meant to be a bloggers event. I excluded non-humans too. So I apologise to Bleubeard, the cat who wanted in. Did a robotish human want in too? I forgot.

To pick my winner, I used a method I'd seen my mother use when she wanted to pick 4 lucky numbers to bet on. She would write the digits from 0 to 9 on pieces of paper, crush them and pour them over a child's head. The child would try and get away and the last number standing is the winner. She repeated this 4 times to get 4 numbers. I believe this is how the random number generator was invented.

I wrote the usernames of all the valid entries on recycled paper and my girl cruched it. After 20 names, we started to regret not using a real random number generator. But you know me. I always do things the hard way.

This morning I engaged everyone's help to pick the winner. My husband who has the biggest head and the most hair was given the honour of being the "head". My kids poured the crushed papers on his head. Here's a slow-mo recap...
My girl realised her Dad's head isn't big enough and tried to arrange the crushed paper carefully.
My boy just poured all the names over his Dad's head.
My husband shakes his head slowly.
 Last name standing. This name never budged once! It really wanted to win.
The winner - Jennifer! She has a blog Outside My Window. If Jennifer does not claim her prizes by 19 Feb Singapore time, I will pick another winner. But I'm sure she will. Thanks to everyone for participating. The next time I do a giveaway, I won't exclude non-bloggers, I promise. But I still have to say No to cats and humanoids. I might consider avatars though.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai

So today marks the first day of the Year of the Tiger. Any tourists who landed in Singapore would be shellshocked. Like "What happened? What happened?"  Because apart from the essential services, most businesses are closed.

The day began with the kids waking up to hongbao (red packets) under their pillows. The idea is to suppress the evil spirits. (My mother-in-law is quite anal about this) My kids don't care about that because they're just happy to get the money. They get $50 each. Big money.
For breakfast, the kids had 1 chocolate cake each. I bought these cakes from the bakery near my home and I think they were marketed as Valentine's Day cakes. But my kids didn't care about that.

It is the tradition on the first day of Chinese New Year to visit your close relatives. For me, it's always about the bag.
I had made this bag during my last MAAD. Although I finished it late Sunday and put it up for sale, there were no takers. So I gave it to myself!
I used sewn-in snaps for the retro look. The outer fabric is from Ikea. Some people cringe when they hear "Ikea". But I love Ikea. The lining is pink twill. The handle is made of ruby red cotton. I sewed some running stitches on the fabric to give it a me-look.
My bag matches my outfit. I wore T-shirt and hipster shorts because it is very hot and most homes we were visiting aren't air-conditioned. I played safe with my hair by washing it the night before.

We visited 3 homes in all. The first home, my husband's aunt's place is a Hainanese (Chinese dialect) home. It means I don't understand anything that is spoken. Everything pretty much sounds like how Chinese language is to a non-Chinese. Like " haaa ching chang pling plang eee caw". Okay, I'm exaggerating. Since I'm Chinese and I know some Chinese dialects, it really sounds like this to me: " haaa ching chang pling plang" .

I enjoyed the 2nd home the most because it's where my family gathers.
This is my youngest brother. He is the host. I come from a big family - 4 brothers and 4 sisters in all. We are also very tall people.

My kid brother had bought 5 bags from me last year to give away to "friends". As it turned out, he was giving them to my 4 sisters and my mom TODAY! How sweet. I was so taken aback but very pleased! My eldest sis who was a professional sewer was also present.  She made all my Chinese New Year clothes for me when I was young and I loved them all. She doesn't know it but she inspired me to become a sewer. When I was younger, she saw me painstakingly drafting a pattern for a PJ bottom and she asked me what in the world I was doing. I told her I wanted to make a PJ bottom for one of my nieces and she proceeded to show me how it was done. She took the fabric I had, used her ARM as a measuring tape, used a pair of scissors to snip here, here and there and suddenly the fabric was cut and ready to be sewn. I couldn't believe my eyes. I sewed following her snips and I managed to sew a decent PJ bottom. I was in awe and wanted to be able to do what she did. No, I still can't sew clothes for humans to save my life but I think I'm halfway there with bags.

The 3rd home we rarely visited. It is where my husband's cousins gather. Ever the "business woman", I handed out my cards. Hehe.

Then my husband had to go to work. All in all, not a bad CNY altogether. My kids had the best time, eating all the forbidden food and collecting hongbao money. Big money.
Discarded hongbao packets sans money.

Tonight my One World One Heart Giveaway ends. So don't submit any more comments for the giveaway past tonight midnight Singapore time. The winner will be announced in tomorrow's (15 Feb) post. Good luck everyone.

Finally, have a grrrrrr Year of the Tiger. Be fierce.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Dinner Date Of The Year

Tonight is the eve of Chinese New Year. It is also the night where Chinese all over the world gather in someone's home to have the Reunion Dinner.  It is a family thing. This means if you don't have a family to reunite with, you're screwed. Most eating places are closed. Most businesses are closed. Except McDonalds and 7-Eleven.

Every year my family has the Reunion Dinner at my mother-in-law's home except for one year when my husband wanted it held at my home. It was a huge mistake because we spent the whole night cleaning up after.
This is the first dish for tonight's Reunion Dinner. It is a salad. But trust the Chinese to make a salad into a lion dance.

This is the salad with all the dressing (peanut sauce with peanuts) and crisps on it.

Here everyone arms himself with a pair of chopsticks and we toss the salad, the higher the better. Of course it could mean a messy table afterwards. This ritual is to wish for good luck or whatever you want. I wish for better sales and that my children will be happy.
 What else did we eat? Fried drumlets.

Fried prawn fritters and white rice. There were other dishes like 2 fishes (double happiness or something?) roast pork and green vegetables. But we never eat them.

We also come back feeling ill because of the oiliness, high salt and MSG. Then we spend the rest of the night drinking water.

This is no ordinary pomelo. It has the power to ward off evil spirits or something. My mother-in-law goes berserk if you do not obey her instructions to place it on the dining table. So here it is on the dining table. The 2 hongbao (red packets), I received tonight. It contains $28 each. (another lucky number) I received them from my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law. These are the only 2 hongbao I will get because my mother does not give me any. She's too cheap. Okay, she has 9 living children and that's a lot of money to give away.

This is a portable mahjong set which I bought recently for my children. My kids love to play mahjong and since my husband lent our mahjong table and set to his best friend (that was 5 years ago), we had been playing with the paper set. Somehow, mahjong doesn't feel right with paper.

Later tonight the four of us will play a few rounds or until one of the kids cry.

So to everyone, I hope you ate with your family tonight.

Friday, February 12, 2010

CNY Checklist

I do believe my family is ready for Chinese New Year. Let's see..
4 oranges - checked. (poached from my husband's office)
cookies - checked. (given by my friend Sweetie-Pie)
2 cylinders of potato chips for my kids - checked (bought from the supermarket and I think the kids already ate most of it)

Next year I will try to be more Chinese and spend a little more money on festive goodies.

These brand new hongbao (red packets) are waiting to be stuffed with brand new notes. I wonder why some red packets are no longer red!

Btw, if you're wondering, part deux of my MAAD post-mortem is delayed. The photos of my bags which I wanted to show were taken by my friend, Jon and he has yet to send them to me.

Message for Jon:
Pleese! The photos, Jon, the photos, si vous plait.

Monday, February 8, 2010

February MAAD 2010 Post-Mortem Part Un

Saturday I had a bad hair day. I had washed my hair before going to red dot design museum. This often spelled trouble for me as my hair looks very good when wet and totally unpredictable when dry. I have natural waves but that's not a good thing. It doesn't always wave the way I like. In fact I like straight hair. When I was younger I had my hair "relaxed" at a salon frequently. Then I got tired of paying for straight hair.

So as I was saying, I had bad hair and my 2 friends showed up to party. It took me by surprise.
Me, Jon and Weng
Let me explain a little about this photo.
1. My head looks the largest because I was standing closest to the camera.
2. I did not want to stand next to Weng because he looks so pretty.
3. My hair looks like it exploded as I had explained earlier.
4. My smile is not so natural because I just remembered I forgot to put on make-up.
5. Weng is a straight guy married with a few kids with a nasty habit of stroking his chest so I don't want any emails asking for my match making services.
6. Jon is a straight single guy who lives alone in a huge apartment and a nasty habit of saying "what? what?".

So guys, you need to come back soon so we can redo the photo shoot. Btw, it was fun. Weng bought 1 of my bags! Jon bought nothing again and he's been here a zillion times. What kind of friend... But he ordered 50 iphone pouches from me. Okay, just kidding. You can stop texting me now Jon. He only ordered 3. He ordered it in Jan and I did not make any because I kept wondering why he would need 3 iphone pouches until he told me on Sat it was to give away. Alamak! Should've told me this sooner. I'm so goondu (read as goon-doo meaning: stupid) sometimes.

This was Weng's first visit to red dot design museum. He had this awestruck look on his face like a toddler's first taste of soy sauce. Weng, just to let you know it's free admission to the museum only on the days MAAD is held.

Sales was less than enthusiastic. I sold 6 bags including the one sold to Weng. I don't know why the usual handmade buyers failed to show up. Maybe they went hunting for Red outfits for Chinese New Year which is happening this weekend. I hope they'll come back next month because I already paid rental for up to July 2010! I wonder if MAAD will give a rebate for poor crowd.....

My dear friend, SweetiePie also came to pick up something and she gave me cookies she'd baked herself.
Look like meatballs but taste like heaven
I had no idea she could bake so swell! I only shared 1 with a fellow seller and I'm glad she only took 1. Hee hee.

My husband and I are too casual toward Chinese New Year (CNY).
We don't do the following "rituals" prior to CNY:
1. Spring clean
2. Decorate our home with CNY ornaments or "lucky" plants
3. Buy CNY food like traditional cookies, tarts.
4. Stock our fridge with food for guests.
5. Have guests over for CNY because we did not do 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Wendy also came by. She looks so glam. And skinny. And glam. And skinny. I knew Wendy when we were "neighbours" selling at MAAD. She sells handmade jewelry/accessories. Check her out at Pyxis. BeadzExotic.
All togged out in Red. I think the bag looks good on her! Ahem.

 I was thinking to myself, how to make myself look thinner? Also, note to self: apply make-up before leaving home.
 Here you can see the full extent of my bad hair. It went PWAAH (read as pwaah). Btw, I look larger because I am larger. My thunder thighs are times 3 Wendy's. I know, I know...No, bitch slaps please.

This cute Taiwanese lady bought my Lovebirds bag. We conversed in Mandarin. I'm glad she understood me. bao bao tai mei le! hen ke ai! Loosely translated it means: This bag is to die for. I look so cute. Or I could have said "This dumpling is too pretty."

Part deux of this post coming next.
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